Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer vision syndrome is a constellation of symptoms which can occur during prolonged computer use:
- dry eyes
- blurred vision
- double vision
Because the imagery on a computer, TV, or a hand-held digital device is visually interesting, people tend to stare and not blink as much. With reduced blinking, dry eyes are more likely to occur. This is one reason why children should have limited screen time. Although vision can be impacted temporarily, symptoms fortunately resolve once the activity is discontinued. If symptoms do not improve in a short period of time, then another diagnosis may be present and should be evaluated by your eye doctor.
Here are the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for screen time adjusted by age:
18 months and younger: No screen time is preferred; video chat with family and friends is acceptable.
18 months to 2 years: Limited screen time with supervision. Preferably educational-based learning programs.
2 to 5 years: One hour of supervised screen time daily.
6 years and older: Consistent limits of screen time with approved media content and channels. Screen time should not interfere with school, sleep, and exercise.
There are many reasons why children should limit screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics Council of Communications and Media recommend families develop a Family Media Use Plan. According to the AAP, “Increased screen time means less time for reading, interactive play, and physical activity the absence of which can lead to an increase in childhood obesity. There are also some studies to suggest that increased screen time at a young age can lead to attention-related disorders in children. There is no evidence to suggest that increased screen time has any effect on a child’s vision.”
Here is the official recommendation on Computer Vision Syndrome from the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.